SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College collected 16 hits in a 10-2 run-rule win in the opening game to claim a home baseball doubleheader split with East Central during Sunday's MACJC action at Gerald Poole Field. The Lions then let a 4-1 lead slip away in dropping a 7-5 nightcap decision to the Warriors.
After East Central gained an early 1-0 lead in the initial frame of the scheduled nine-inning opener, the Lions scored three runs in the third and four more in the fourth to take the advantage for good. Sending eight batters to the plate each frame, EMCC's trio of runs in the third came on S.T. McMurrian's two-run double followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ja'Coby Cole. Four hits contributed to the Lions' four-run fourth, including doubles by Destin Payton and Philip Martin.
That run production proved to be more than EMCC starting pitcher Chance Witt would need, as the sophomore left-hander limited the Warriors to just two runs on only five hits through seven innings while picking up his first win of the season. Witt's seven innings of work, which included five strikeouts and five walks, turned into a complete-game victory when the Lions plated three more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
At the bottom of the order, Cole, Luke Miller and Payton all singled to load the bases for EMCC in the seventh. A sacrifice fly by Hickman was followed by two-out RBI singles from William Garriga and Martin to get the Lions to the eight-run margin needed after seven innings for the run-rule triumph.
Garriga and Martin led six multi-hit EMCC batters with three hits apiece in the opener. Hickman, McMurrian, Cole and Payton each added two hits for the winners.
In the nightcap, the Lions staked freshman left-hander Max Rinebolt, making his first collegiate start on the mound, to a 4-1 lead after five innings. EMCC answered East Central's solo tally in the third with three scores in the bottom half of the frame on Hickman's RBI infield single along with separate runs scored on a passed ball and wild pitch. The Lions benefitted from another Warrior wild pitch with a runner at third in the fifth inning to push across their fourth run of the game.
Scoring six runs over the final three innings, the Warriors' comeback began in the sixth inning when a pair of infield errors by EMCC led to three unearned runs. Highlighted by Ken Scott's two-out, two-run double off reliever Wesley Grantham, the three-run inning tied the game at 4-4.
After the Lions answered by reclaiming the lead in the bottom of the sixth on Hickman's RBI double, East Central tied it up again in the seventh when Jacob Edwards doubled off Jaxen Forrester and was then bunted over to third before coming around to score on George Farid's sacrifice fly.
The Warriors took the lead for the first time in the top of the eighth after loading the bases off EMCC reliever Peyton Warren. With two outs following a strikeout, the Lions appeared to be out of the jam, but Edwards' sinking liner to center field kicked off Payton's glove allowing two runs to score.
ECCC sophomore right-hander Dylan Marsh worked a second straight scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth to complete the comeback victory and earn the twin-bill split for the visitors.
Hickman and Martin led the Lions with a double and single apiece in the second contest.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 11-15 overall and 4-8 in MACJC action, travel to Clarksdale to take on the Coahoma Tigers in a Tuesday twin bill set for a noon start at the Eddie C. Smith Sportsplex.